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Is America's auto love affair fading?

By Juliet Eilperin

America's "century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end," according to Earth Policy Institute president Lester Brown.

Yes, the U.S. car fleet may have peaked. In 2009 the number of automobiles scrapped in this country--14 million--exceeded the number of new vehicles sold by 4 million.

This reversal--the first time the number of scrapped autos have exceeded new ones since World War II--shrunk the nation's overall vehicle fleet from the all-time high of 250 million to 246 million.

The recession had something to do with this trend, but Brown suggested Wednesday in a telephone press conference that it could continue through "at least" 2020, in part due to increased gas prices, urbanization, annoyance with traffic congestion and concerns about global warming.

He added that the "Cash for Clunkers" program helped contribute to this trend, since all of the roughly 700,000 autos traded in under the program had to be scrapped, but he added it's "certainly not a dominant factor."

While there are now nearly five vehicles for every four U.S. drivers, Washington D.C. could be a sign of the country's overall shift in direction. Only 63 percent of households in the District own a car. The city just revamped its zoning codes to reduce the number of parking spaces required for commercial and residential buildings, so now there must only be one parking space instead of four for every 1,000 square feet of retail space. And parking rates have just jumped from 75 cents to $2 per hour.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  January 6, 2010; 3:00 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Well, how careful the Washington Post is when dealing with EPA. Are they as afraid of them as most businesses is of the agency. Democrats invented a monster when they created this oner. It makes law by simply saying it. The President gic-=ves illegal and excutive orders which are not by extention Constitutional. Congress makes law and rhe EPA makes law at its whim. How many businesses have gone to to other lands with their jobs due to the EPA?????

Posted by: jackolantyrn356 | January 13, 2010 11:27 PM
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